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Door handle in search of the irrational measure of beauty

2 min read

Nature and mathematics are often the best pointers for those in search of what is right and beautiful. Upon reading a book by Friedrich Cramer and Wolfgang Kämpfer whose title translates as “The Nature of Beauty”, FSB undertook to probe the secret of beauty in the world of door handles with resort to the Golden Section.

door-handle shape drawn in a radial grid using the Fibonacci sequence
Part of the series:

Dimensions [#4] or: figure vs. feeling – what matters?

More about this theme

The secret of beauty, they say, is closely bound up with the history of an irrational number whose mysterious force people have been endeavouring to fathom ever since the time of Vitruvius (first century BC). We read of multifarious efforts by leading minds to visualise this baffling number, are told about the proportional sketches by Leonardo da Vinci and the number series identified by Leonardo da Pisa (1170-1220), about flying squares and rather less flightworthy rectangles. The designers at FSB discovered that “this inexpressible number” (Johannes Kepler, 1571- 1630) is a symbol for the dynamics of life, a process that is generally deemed to be beautiful when it accords with the principle of self-similarity. Providing immediate evidence of this is the natural growth spiral of a seashell, a daisy or the seed pod of a sunflower.

Fascinated by such mathematical elucidations of natural beauty, FSB filtered the dynamics of the Golden Section through the keyhole of the architectural hardware trade to come up with a pleasing door-handle shape. A radial grid was created in our CAD system, the technical requirements for a door handle were entered and a line was plotted through whirling rectangles with the aid of right angles and the Fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, …). Without further ado, there appeared on the screen the aesthetic soul of a handle shape bending gently back towards the door leaf – an irrational measure of grippability of a most reasonable kind.

The rest was quite routine. Incorporating a circular grip cross-section gave life to FSB 1160, an alternative to conventional door lever handles based on the laws of Pythagoras and exuding “harmonia et symmetria”. The handle tapers from neck to tip – likewise observing the rules of the Golden Section. This reduction in width further intensifies the momentum of the natural path of the curve. The resultant design is discreet, securely grippable and geared to the user’s direction of motion.

picture of the door-handle FSB 1160
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